Essay on Oregon's Death With Dignity Act

Essay on Oregon's Death With Dignity Act

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America is a champion of the freedom of choice. Citizens have the right to choose their religion, their political affiliation, and make personal decisions about nearly every facet of their daily lives. Despite all of these opportunities, one choice society commonly ignores is that of deciding how one’s life will end. Death seems like a highly unpredictable, uncontrollable occurrence, but for the past 17 years, citizens of Oregon have had one additional option not offered to most Americans in the deciding of their end-of-life treatment. Oregon’s Death With Dignity Act (DWDA), passed in 1994, allows qualified, terminally-ill Oregon patients to end their lives through the use of a doctor-prescribed, self-administered, lethal prescription (Office of Disease Prevention and Epidemiology, n.d.). The nationally controversial act has faced injunctions, an opposing measure, and has traveled to the Supreme Court, however it still remains in effect today.
The DWDA aims to provide qualified patients with an alternative choice in their end of life care. Comfort care, hospice care, and pain control are still viable and widely used by patients as end-of-life treatment, but with the passing of this act, the citizens of Oregon made it clear that they wanted a more definite, controlled solution to any pain or suffering people might experience in their final months of living (The Oregon Death With Dignity Act, 1994). To qualify, patients must be at least 18 years of age, a resident of Oregon, mentally competent in his/her ability to make and communicate informed health decisions, and diagnosed with a fatal illness that will likely lead to death within six months. Only these individuals may begin the process of requesting the medication.
Patients wi...

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... National Center. Retrieved October 7, 2011, from
Measure 51 Arguments in Favor. (n.d.).Oregon Secretary of State. Retrieved October 8, 2011, from
Office of Disease Prevention and Epidemiology. (n.d.). Frequently Asked Questions: Death with Dignity Act. Oregon Health Authority. Retrieved October 7, 2011, from
PCCEF. (2001, November 8). Physicians for Compassionate Care Friend of the Court Brief on Oregon v. Ashcroft et al. Physicians for Compassionate Care Education Foundation. Retrieved October 9, 2011, from
The Oregon Death With Dignity Act. (1994).

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